How to Use Instagram’s Secret, Awesome ASCII Mode

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Instagram has a hidden feature that will show you an ASCII-art version of any photo, rendering it as colored text instead of an image file. What is it good for? Nothing, really. Maybe saving bandwidth? Who knows! What matters is that you can now view Kim Kardashian’s many, many selfies in glorious ASCII vision.

Appending .html to Instagram image URL’s creates some sick ASCII art: https://t.co/WJog7W8XEy becomes: https://t.co/njrdmaqayr

— Sam Brown (@sambrown) January 28, 2016

The trick is very simple: just add “.html” after the “.jpg” at the end of any image file on Instagram to see the color ASCII version (or add “.txt” to see the black-and-white one). 

The absolute easiest way to do it is to drag this bookmarklet (created by Following’s Brian Feldman) to your bookmarks bar:

InstaASCII

Open up any Instagram photo page and click the bookmarklet to get the ASCII version of the photo.

You can also do it the hard way — though the only tough part is finding the URL of an Instagram pic in the first place. The quickest way to do it has four steps:

1. Right-click on the photo page and select “view source.”

2. Once you’re looking at the source, press Control + F (Command + F on a Mac) and enter “jpg.” You should jump to the URL of the photo. (It’ll be on the line labeled “meta property=”og:image.”)

3. Copy the image URL, which will look something like “https://scontent-sea1-1.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/e35/12543378_462202900640684_662391546_n.jpg,” and paste it into your URL bar.

4. Add .html or .txt to the URL and reload to get your ASCII pic!


Happy text-arting!